Perspective | The draft law to resume the annual mailings with the social security declarations will be continued in-house

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<pre><pre>Perspective | The draft law to resume the annual mailings with the social security declarations will be continued in-house

You may not have noticed that you did not receive this important document, but the House Ways and Means Committee recently passed the Know Your Social Security Act, which states that the government is resending the annual social security income declarations to millions of workers aged 25 and over must record.

Your social security statement includes information about your earnings documents, estimated benefits, and how much you or your family would receive if you were disabled, for a survivor, or for an old age pension. This data (assuming that your benefits do not change significantly when you retire) determines how much you need to save and invest for retirement. The average monthly retirement pension in November was $ 1,431.06.

First, a personal declaration of earnings and performance was sent to eligible employees who were approaching retirement. In 2000, the Social Security Agency (SSA) began sending the statements to workers about three months before their birthday.

But in 2011, SSA stopped sending the annual paper declarations to save money. The following year, the agency released a secure online version of the statement that can be viewed at any time.

For a short period in 2017, SSA overruled the decision to suspend the mailings just to stop them for cost reasons. From now on, paper bank statements will only be sent to people over the age of 60 who do not receive benefits and do not have an account on the social security website.

Getting people to review their statements regularly is a challenge. I think if they don't get retired, they don't even think about doing it. The percentage of registered "my The number of social security account users who accessed their bank statements online decreased from 96 percent in 2012 to 43 percent in 2018.

I agree to the bipartisan effort to get the SSA to send its comments back to the email recipients. There are certainly costs to consider, but we pay a higher price if people are not adequately prepared for retirement because they overestimate the income they receive from social security.

Some readers had questions after last week's newsletter about the bill that was on its way through Congress. I asked the SSA to address their concerns.

Q: I have a security hole in my credit reports. Which credit bureau does SSA use to get information to verify people's identity?

Q: If I have trouble setting up an account online, what should I do to set up an online account? For example, I may not have answered the security questions correctly because I forgot information.

SSA: The toll-free social security number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) can be called Monday through Friday from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can also contact your local social security agency.

Q: What happens if I forget my password or user ID?

SSA: Go to ssa.gov for instructions on how to get your username or password.

Q: Can I decide against a written statement if the mailings of the annual statement are resumed?

SSA: People can opt-out of receiving email notifications available online through the Message Center, including annual social security cost of living adjustments, by "my Social Security account.

The agency sends paper declarations to workers aged 60 and over who do not receive and do not yet have social security benefits my Social Security account. People with an account will not receive a bank statement. People should review their statements annually and "my Social security account holders will receive an email reminder.

Q: Many people stop working, but are waiting to take advantage of social security. Isn't the estimated amount shown on the performance record misleading for anyone who doesn't cash in immediately after finishing work? How can people calculate performance when they stop working but before they get benefits?

SSA: For 2019 and later (until retirement age), we assume that the employee will continue to work and will earn approximately the same as in 2017 and 2018. In general, the older the employee and the closer he is to retirement age, the more precise that on the Account statements include pension estimates, the more they are based on a longer work history with less uncertainties such as B. Income Fluctuations. The agency offers many tools to help people plan their retirement. Social security account holders can use our Age Estimator tool, which allows people to enter different income scenarios and retirement ages to see how changes affect their social security benefits.

Readers' question of the week

If you have a question about retirement, send it to colorofmoney@washpost.com,

Q: Saving for retirement and college for multiple children: I currently have a toddler and am expecting another baby. I'm happy to say that our toddler already has over $ 10,000 in his 529! How do you recommend prioritizing saving for both and possibly another child in the future when the second baby arrives? The only way to give our next child the same amount is to reduce the amount saved for retirement. Our primary goal is that all of our children go to school free of debt. We hope to be able to reimburse the high cost of day care for 529 and retirement once they reach school age.

Michelle Singletary: Because only that much money comes in, you need to prioritize savings. Investing in retirement is crucial, but you don't have to sacrifice the college fund entirely. If you have a few decades to go before you retire, you can withdraw your retirement savings to free up 529 college savings plans for your children.

There is something else to consider here. Part of planning your tuition costs is managing your children's expectations – and yourself – about how much you can realistically save for higher education. Take the debt off the table, which means that your children may need to start at a community college and then move to a four-year school. You may have to commute to school. There is also another way to reduce college costs that I am writing about here.

I also recommend reading the following:

Retired rants and raves

What do you think about this week's newsletter topic?

I am also interested in your experience or concerns about retirement or aging. You can rave or rave. Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com, Please enter your name, city and state. Enter "Retirement Rituals and Raves" in the subject line.

Last week I asked: when was the last time you checked your social security statement? Would it be helpful to get it in the mail?

Heidi Sobol from Portland, Ore., wrote: "I am one of the compulsory planners who looks at my testimony but was surprised how many others don't know about it. I recently had a conversation with a friend about retirement planning and showed her how to access hers. She had not even thinking about it, and I explained that I was thinking about it when allocating assets, breathing easier about how much they had saved for retirement, including this "hidden" asset. "

"I recently found that I am no longer receiving social security information by mail," he wrote Janie Yarbrough from Hoover, Ala. "I dutifully have onemy Online social security account. Mind you, I am a "web" person. I do everything I can online. After four tries and 30 minutes of frustration, however, I gave up. The problem is the two-step review process. After entering your username / password, it is recommended that you send a security code to your email address within two minutes to gain access to your account. The security code is only valid for 10 minutes. In my four attempts, the code was not received within 10 minutes. A few hours later I made one last attempt and I succeeded. I immediately found the settings area and changed my preference to snail-mail. I don't have time for this nonsense. "

The process of signing up for an online social security account has hampered a number of readers.

Leslie Van Buskirk from Wisconsin wrote: "My frustration with the online social security account is that I tried to set it up, but the complexity of the random information it pulls out of the credit file to ask you about your identity is so specific that I never could set it on. If I don't make it, I wouldn't be surprised if others have trouble. "

Eric Moore from Miami wrote: "The social security agency should not regularly send paper declarations, nor should it encourage paper exams. Why? Because paper objects are lost, stolen or manipulated, people move or ignore the mailing. Paper is expensive. A friend who doesn't have internet access goes to the library. At this age, people are more likely to keep an email address longer than a home address. "

Tracy Senate from Guthrie, Okla., wrote: "Perhaps instead of sending out the entire document every year, how about sending a simple reminder every year to look at your account (or set up an account)? This would help make the account information more secure since it will not be mailed. "

"No, don't kill trees to send annual social security declarations," he wrote Sara M. from California, "Send them once at the age of 30 with the reminder to create an account. Not so much paper needs to be wasted that it is sent to everyone every year. "

Krystal Bullers from Tampa says she reviews her social security statement as part of her six-monthly pension review and writes, "I'm happy to only receive the email reminder. It comes in April every year, around the time I got the paper bill. I do not like to receive such statements by post, since then I have to take care to dispose of them safely and scan them electronically for my files. Perhaps the best solution would be a hybrid of electronics and paper. Allow people to refuse to receive the paper version, and that would at least reduce the amount of paper waste that is created. "

"Mandatory paper declarations would be a constant reminder that finances and social security policies must now be set," he wrote Mike Mundorff from Salt Lake City.

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